“What shirt will my name be on the back of next year?”
This is the question that is pacing through Fernando Torres’ mind almost as quick as the Fuenlabrada-born forward. Torres has yet to come out publicly and deny rumours of an exit from the Merseysiders and even if his agent has, most Liverpool fans will want to hear directly from the horse’s mouth. Recently, Torres said he was happy with the appointment of new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson and hoped that: “he will be the right man to give Liverpool the opportunity to be strong again”.
There’ll be interest across the globe for the Spanish international forward, with Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti already declaring a huge interest in El Nino. Other interest has come from Manchester City and their mega-millions and La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. So, what are the options on a plate for Fernando at the various clubs vying for his signature?
Let’s start with his current employers Liverpool. Torres’ goalscoring record at the Reds is phenomenal and if he stays, he’ll have the chance to obliterate the goalscoring records set by Anfield legends such as Ian Rush and Roger Hunt and no doubt, go down in the Liverpool folklore and become a club legend himself. The fans adore him and he produces the goods regularly for Liverpool. However, people believe that Liverpool is a sinking ship. With the ownership of the club still in disarray, despite the appointment of new club chairman, Martin Broughton, and the constant rumours about the exit of Steven Gerrard, Torres will be under a heavy amount of pressure. If Gerrard goes, there is no doubt Torres will follow. Liverpool will just have to hope they can keep their golden couple together.
Torres might just fancy a move back to Spain and Barcelona and Real Madrid will come knocking, if Torres feels that way. Barcelona would offer the striker a stable base alongside recent new signing and Spanish strike partner David Villa and the guarantee of regular trophies on the domestic front and overseas. Real Madrid would offer the chance to play with one of the best footballers on the planet in Cristiano Ronaldo. The only negatives facing both of these clubs is the fact that Torres is extremely loyal to Atletico Madrid and whether he would be doing his first club wrong by moving to a rival Spanish club.
Switches to other Premier League teams are also viable options for Torres. Carlo Ancelotti declared his interest, as soon as rumours surfaced about Torres’ uncertainty to stay at Liverpool. Ancelotti wants Torres as a linchpin alongside Didier Drogba to fire him to a second successive Premier League crown and Torres has a high chance of winning the Premier League and have that medal to join his Euro 2008 triumph in the Spaniard’s trophy cabinet. The only problem with Chelsea for Torres is the rival switch to the fans of Liverpool and having to compete for places with two top drawer strikers in Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. Would Torres be content with chopping and changing with those two? Or would he become frustrated and have his performances affected by the constant tinkering to accommodate other people?
The final option is Manchester City. With their pulling power being felt across the world by the signings of Yaya Toure and David Silva, they have the money to attract anybody. Torres would be paid millions a year and would link up with another Spanish teammate in David Silva and be the focal point and back to the centre of attention status, which he relished at Los Rojiblancos. The negatives in this situation are whether Torres wants to play for a growing team that hasn’t fully established their dominance or does he want to wait it out, before moving to City when they are ready to: “take over the world”, as chief executive Garry Cook has boldly pronounced.
Everything is resting on Fernando’s shoulders now. Not only is he dealing with the pressure of his poor World Cup performances, he is dealing with the rumour mill turning and turning, quicker and quicker as the days before the opening weekend of the Premier League season commence. Torres needs to act on his thoughts and find where his heart truly lies. Every fan of Liverpool and Chelsea and all the other clubs interested in Torres will be clinging onto his every word, that’s a definite.